The challenge People with intellectual and developmental disabilities face daily challenges in learning, as a result of a lack of skills necessary for daily life, like academic skills. It has been difficult for them over the years to guarantee their right to education under normal conditions due to social and economic barriers, now with a more digitized world but with economic shortages to access the digital ecosystem, How can we achieve the inclusion in education of those who have been excluded from the system and with low resources in underdeveloped countries?
To address the challenges being faced by families with intellectual/developmental disabilities (PWIDDs) during this new normal education during a pandemic, here are the proposed steps to follow:
Foster partnership among parents/schools with the public-private sectors/local government units/volunteers to provide PWIDDs with needed funds to help them adopt alternative delivery modalities such as blended and distance learning and modular approach;
Create a platform or application that could cater to the needs of PWIDDs and bodily-kinesthetic learners like recorded short videos with music, electronic books/encyclopedia, interactive games, soft copies, and learning modules provided through flash drives;
Collaborate with the government to provide an educational pathway through the infusion of multimedia platforms like TV programs and broadcast stations to offer relevant educational topics. As to the delivery of learning modules, materials and tools to PWIDDs in far-flung areas and places with history of violent extremism, government troops through the recommendation of school authorities shall be tapped to ensure the safe and up-to-date transport of these to concerned units/beneficiaries and they must see to it that health and safety protocols must be followed;
Create/customize existing resources and projects to gather funds which will help sustain their needs in purchasing learning materials and educational tools (gadgets, toys, puzzles, etc.) that will benefit the low-income and poverty stricken families;
Strengthen a network of teachers, specialists, parents, and volunteers which can hold forums and webinars to help parents on how to guide their children to maximize learning and conduct at-home-sessions and therapy.
Financial incapability– Most families from developing countries barely struggle to get by and could not afford to support their special children's needs;
Lack of gadgets or technology- because of low socioeconomic status, many families will struggle to even buy laptops, cellphones, etc;
Lack of education of parents- Some parents are not educated and ICT literate, they lack knowledge on how to operate and utilize provided learning materials;
Limitations, Scope and Challenges in Delivering Learning Materials- Some people live in far-flung areas and in places with a history of violent extremism. This may come up with challenges like increased risk in safety with higher chances of infections, and delay in transport of modules. On a more serious note, these can be damaged or stolen along the way which may deter the purpose;
Lack of support person- It cannot be denied that parents have a hard time in supervising and facilitating the education of their children as they are also struggling to land jobs and make ends meet;
Starlink System - We cannot afford to wait for Starlink System, the latency, broadband internet system that dares to meet the needs of consumers across the globe because this could take a lot of time to run and operate. This gives rise to incalculable loss on the part of PWID;
Dependency on Routine and Experience- Time and time again, it has been proven that PWIDD are bodily kinesthetic and visual learners. Because this pandemic has caused a drastic change in the routine of every particular family, this makes it difficult for them and may overwhelm them. Thus, their learning cannot transpire.
Sustainability: This solution represents the chances for those who are PWIDDs to rely on and support themselves which in the long term, will definitely enhance the overall quality of life;
Scalability: It is possible to transfer this solution to other areas if there are organizations supporting the scheme. It is practical to implement this, especially in developed countries, as there are advanced technologies and strong government support;
Innovation potential: Depending on each country’s main economic sector, the organizations can try to implement the scheme to increase employment while the PWIDDs can continuously learn and improve their skills. The government can also support through funding to the companies for employment of PWIDDs, which in turn will increase the quality of human resources;
The AFS angle: Global Competence Development: For younger kids, they can do a short cultural exchange program to a developed country to share their experiences and gain new horizons;
Social Value: Students who have access to more resources will have the ability to improve their skills through the provided tools. While raising funds, the organization will educate the citizens regarding this matter, resulting in a higher awareness and the social movement from some groups of people to improve society.
Understand the needs of customer and center services around it;
Develop public policies to obtain the statistics and locate the people we’ll impact with government assistance (age/level of education/address);
Development and preparation of blended education modules and services like CDs;
Partnering with government organizations to find the demographics and public to invest in physical inputs;
Sampling and handing out modules to a small set of teachers and parents to test and revise;
Distribution and marketing of modules through Webinars and online conferencing;
Final distribution of modules hard/ soft copy to be made available for public use;
Creating a database of users to control user satisfaction.